Currently I am about 200 pages into Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged.” Some of the characters are straight out of a first year philosophy book. They are textbook examples of what it is to be idealist, atheists, materialists, etc. Each character seems to find their own niche but at the same time they remain individuals. The strongest Rearden and Dangy Taggart are morally or socially the most vile beings, but the moralists and virtue warriors such as James Taggert are described in such a way that they’re outwardly expressions in the name of humanity are overshadowed by the lack of action taken to reach their supposed ends. I think the most impressive thing I have read thus far is the relationship that Dangy and Rearden have for their families.
The metal in and of itself if nothing but a catalyst to move people to remain in their idealistic sense whatever that may be. In some cases their sense of right is being able to accept that they have desires and simply are machine like working and striving for nothing but success and a sense of worth in material things. The two main characters go about it different ways; Rearden by rigidity and, Dagny by allowing indulgences at times but always being aware of her profession.
Pages 453 – 455 offer an insight into the driving force behind the mind of the author. She links the values someone has to their carnal desires which in many cases seems to be the case. She via the character of Francisco states that the relationships that people have with their partners are the most selfish and seek only to express their hidden moral code.
Ayn Rand appears to have a lot of valid point with her view of objectivism, but it seems to leave to many holes. Its does not account for children, the handicapped, and or those who simply have never had the chance to show their ability. However toward the end of the novel she does attempt to reconcile some of these ideas but as most philosophical movements, they simply are too rigid or in this case not complete enough. The idea and elements of objectivism as presented by Rand is interesting and definitely worth a more in depth view.
Of the whole book the below is my favorite quote because it is an interesting view of human moral code which we are supposed to have an innate knowledge of. The below contends with that notion. It seems that Rand is
“Damnation is the start of your morality, destruction is its purpose, means to an end. Your code begins by damming man as evil, then demands that he practice good which it defines as impossible for him to practice. It demands, as his first proof of virtue, that he accept his own depravity without proof. It demands that he start, not with a standard of value, but with a standard of evil, which is himself, by means of which he is then to define the good: the good is that which he is not.”